It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Prov 25:2)
One of my fondest memories is doing scavenger hunts with a church college group. You know: where someone hides a bunch of worthless stuff all over town, then gives you a bunch of nonsensical clues to find them, and you waste a bunch of gas (not to mention ruin the earth) looking for them. I think God is a little like that. He conceals things from us and we must search them out, not because he’s a mean college leader, but because he knows that the best way for us to learn lessons is by discovery.
That’s what MovedMe in this installment of The Chronicles of Narnia: the fact that Aslan allows Peter to go through the journey unfolded before us, so he could learn some valuable lessons.
Men Behaving Badly
The first picture we get of Peter is in modern day England, and he’s fighting some bullies on the way to school. His explanation? They bumped him and then asked him to apologize. The look on his face as he was explaining the rest of the story was like, “Don’t they know who I am? I am the High King of Narnia!”
I could almost sense the frustration welling up inside him. He had tasted the glories of being not only a king but the High King of Narnia! He was frustrated with his life in common, modern-day England. I started to wonder if that’s why many men behave badly, why our gender is responsible for many of the woes of our society. I mean we aren’t all High Kings of Narnia or anything lame like that; but as Genesis 1 reminds us, we are image-bearers of God. Since this mundane life cannot contain us, we often get bored or frustrated and act out. This is not an excuse, but an observation. We were meant for so much more; Jesus comes to restore that in us.
Peter aches for Narnia, even wondering out loud, in that train station, why it has been a year since coming back to modern-day England… as a kid, no less. I believe he’s even questioning Aslan at this point. He gets his wish and is transported with his siblings to a Narnia they do not remember, because Narnia has aged 1300 years or so. Peter picks up right where he left off, ruling and reigning, only this time he’s trying to do it for himself and by himself.
We see this as he usurps Prince Caspian, who called them there and was doing just fine leading the Narnians before Peter got there. We also see it in some key lines from the movie. As Peter is pridefully telling everyone how they will capture King Miraz’ castle, Lucy asks him if he even remembers that it was Aslan who actually defeated the White Witch. Later Susan joins the fray by asking who he (Peter) is doing all this for as he forces their failing plan to take over the castle.
This journey we watch Peter going through is one of faith. Many come to believe in Jesus and everything goes great, until there is a trial or life hands them some setbacks. It is so easy to lose that faith, lose heart… just as Peter endured that year of being a normal boy and must have lost faith in Aslan. But God allows us to go on a bit of a journey, just like Peter. I love how he comes back.
This is best shown in what I call Peter’s war whoop! If you remember The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, at the last battle Peter yells, “For Narnia and for Aslan!” In the first battle Peter just yells, “For Narnia!” I love how he comes full circle in the last battle yelling, “For Aslan!”
I Had it Sorted
Back to the scene after Peter’s fight with the bullies is broken up. Edmund sarcastically says to Peter, “You’re welcome!” to which Peter retorts, “I had it it sorted.” My wife asked me later what that meant and I can only think that it’s one of the English sayings that needs translating into American. I think it means, “I had it under control,” which is actually funny because he didn’t. I’m not just referring to the fight, because Peter pretty much had nothing sorted in the entire movie.
We talked a bit about the failed attempt to take the castle; but what about the others? He got them all lost on the way to meet Prince Caspian. He couldn’t best Prince Caspian in their introductory sword fight. He almost gets bewitched by the White Witch, prompting Edmund to throw his “I had it sorted” saying right back at him. You get the picture… High King Peter wasn’t so Magnificent in this movie.
He did turn it around, though. In the last battle, he starts to listen to those around him rather than being a dictator. He lets Lucy go find Aslan. He listens to Caspian’s plan to fight King Miraz one on one. He finally did get it sorted, by realizing that he didn’t have it sorted and needed the help of those around him. This is a big lesson for any leader.
I’m sad to see that Susan and Peter will no longer be able to come back to Narnia. I knew this from reading the books, but it became very poignant for me in the last scenes. I’m not sure what lessons Susan takes with her, but Peter’s journey is one that mirrors the proverb quoted above. I don’t think our journeys are too far off.
What is God concealing in your life? Are you going to be a king or queen and search for it?